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Blackhawks Playoff Tiebreakers Explained

With the Blackhawks in pursuit of the seventh or eighth spot in the Western Conference playoffs, and being pursued by the Dallas Stars (the Flames were eliminated last night, due to their own tiebreaker situation), here’s a (hopefully) simple explanation of what they have to do with their two remaining games.

The first tiebreaker is wins in non-shootout games; the NHL terms these ROW (Regulation plus Overtime Wins). The Blackhawks have 37; the Ducks have 41 and the Stars 35. Thus, the Hawks lose the tiebreaker to Anaheim if they wind up with the same number of points. The only way the Hawks can wind up seventh is if they win both their games and the Ducks don’t, since they are tied with 95 points.

Meanwhile, the Stars, four points behind the Blackhawks and with one more game remaining (three), could beat out the Blackhawks for the final spot if they win all their games and the Blackhawks get only three points from their final two games. If those two teams wind up tied in points and ROW, the second tiebreaker is total points in the four games between the teams. The Blackhawks lose that one — the Stars had six points (3 wins), the Hawks three (one win and an overtime loss).

Clear as mud, I know. The Blackhawks are in the driver’s seat, but the car could still roll into the ditch.